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Heat wave leads to crime wave in Greenpoint’s McCarren Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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The mercury is rising in McCarren Park — and so is the crime.

There have been 15 incidents within a two-block radius of the Greenpoint park over the past three months, including a rape and a shooting that occurred within the past two weeks.

Last Saturday night, at approximately 8:30 pm, a woman was raped in the McCarren Park bathrooms after she met a man on the corner of Bedford Avenue and N. 12th Street earlier that night.

And on June 18, just after 1 am, a gunman fired at random inside the park and two bullets pierced a man in his legs.

Neither the rapist nor the shooter has been caught.

Other crimes near the park include four robberies, four assaults, three burglaries, and two grand larcenies, as perps have snatched victims’ phones away, broken into their cars, or straight-up robbed them point blank on the street.

The violence is part of a larger crime trend in the 94th Precinct, which covers Greenpoint and the Northside. There has been a 10.34-percent increase in criminal complaints over the past month, as auto thefts are up 17 percent, robberies have increased by 8.2 percent, and grand larcenies are up 5.1 percent, NYPD statistics show.

A Parks Department official dismissed the crime wave as “isolated incidents,” and noted that police were stepping up patrols.

“Also, we’re hiring a park enforcement police officer starting this month,” added the official, North Brooklyn Parks Administrator Stephanie Thayer.

One of McCarren Park’s most prominent users, Kevin Dailey, commissioner of the Brooklyn Kickball League, has not seen increased police activity in the park during the league’s Sunday schedule, but has noticed an increase of police patrols on Tuesday nights. Dailey believes the key to reducing crime is to permit more activities in the park at all hours.

“I feel that good solid activity in the park keeps crime down,” said Dailey. “The fields should be permitted every night of the week and it is not. It’s a tough thing to do, but it can be done.”

But local business owners, including Meredith Chesney, who owns a nearby hair salon, have a different take. Chesney wants more safety measures inside the park, such as improved lighting to brighten dark stretches of the street. She said she fought for a year and a half to get a light on N. 11th Street and Roebling repaired, but it has burned out again.

“I’m shocked by the number of the path-lights that are either not working or not turned on,” said Chesney. “I feel the darkness is a major contributor to opportunistic crimes being committed.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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